Fort William, Scotland

The stunning scenery continued from Loch Ness all the way down to Fort William. Half of the time we gazed out at beautiful, misty forests, and the other half we followed surging waterways bordered by looming mountains. I guess there had been a decent amount of rain (or snow) lately, as there were frequent streams of water cascading down the sides of the mountains, crashing violently into the already swollen rivers. I could have sworn there were more waterfalls here than in Switzerland.

 

Arriving in Fort William, we realised that we must have passed Ben Nevis at some point but the fog prevented us from seeing the top of any peak. It was already dark by this time (mid-afternoon), so we decided to spend the rest of the day sitting in a pub, chatting to the locals. The Scottish accent was considerably thicker here, and I had to rely on Danny to translate their English into my English.

 

The forecast for tonight was -4ºC with a chance of snow. I’m sure that was a new record for me. We had the heater running in the van all evening until the moment we jumped into bed. I am not made to withstand weather like this (and it's not even winter yet).

Once the sun finally rose, I completed a speedy tour around Fort William but there wasn't much that caught my attention. On cold, wet, windy days, everything just looks pale and lifeless.

 

Leaving the empty town behind, we jumped behind the wheel for another attempt at locating Ben Nevis. The task was again disrupted by fog, severely restricting our field of vision. We drove for an eternity down a single-lane, deserted road, stopping at the beginning of a walk through a gorge. We didn't bother with the walk (the rain turned us off) but the surrounding scenery was mind-blowing. The mountains, the snow, the waterfalls all combined to produce a movie set-like landscape that would have been even more spectacular on a sunny day.

The views on the way to Glasgow somehow became even more dramatic - taller mountains, faster rivers, bulging lakes, and snow carpeting the ground all the way down to the road. But that was not what we remembered about this drive. Yet again, the wind was at hurricane levels, the roads were narrow, and there was masses of oncoming traffic. As has happened several times now, we heard our skylight pop open when a truck passed by us. Danny climbed into the back and closed it again, no problem. Until we met the next truck, which blew the entire skylight unit right off the van. I immediately pulled over so Danny could jump out and run down the road to search for our two-day-old skylight (he found it in a ditch). Upon inspection, we discovered that the skylight had snapped where it connects to the van, and we knew there was no repairing it. The only consolation we had was that the break was in the original skylight, not the new translucent screen we had just purchased. As it was raining we needed a rapid solution, so we placed the skylight back into the hole in the roof and secured it with our elastic clothes lines. It worked surprisingly well, but we weren’t taking any chances - every time another truck thundered past, Danny sprang up and clenched the skylight tight with both hands. Every time we think we have solved all of our campervan problems, another one comes along.

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